BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Fire deaths in Louisiana are higher in 2021 with 38 fatalities compared to 34 last year, according to State Fire Marshal officials.
“At the start of the year, we were seeing a concerning trend with fire fatalities, though just one loss of life is always one too many,” said State Fire Marshal H. “Butch” Browning. “After a call to action to the public, those tragedies, thankfully, became less frequent. But now that we’ve hit the midway point of the year, I want to renew that call to action in hopes of preventing a continued elevated count of fire deaths in the latter part of the year.”
Causes of fatal fires in the state have been reported by SFM to involve kitchen fires and unsafe smoking practices to electrical issues due to improper electrical wiring.
“The first line of defense against fire is prevention,” said Browning, “Prevention starts with awareness. I’m asking all Louisiana families to be aware of the fire hazards currently in your home and address them sooner rather than later. I’m also hoping the fire safety tips we have to offer help families keep fire hazards from developing in their homes.”
Fire safety tips from SFM:
Cooking Safety Tips: Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking anything on the stove and avoid cooking when you’re tired or impaired. In addition, make sure your cooking space is free of clutter and combustible materials. Lastly, ensure children are at least three feet away from an active stove, sharp objects and hot foods and/or liquids. Keep a lid close by in the event a small, stovetop fire occurs that can be smothered by placing the lid over it and turning off the heat. But if a large cooking fire occurs, get yourself and any other occupants out of the home immediately and call 911 for help.
Smoking Safety Tips: It’s always best to smoke outdoors. Ensure all smoking materials are properly extinguished in the appropriate manner and keep all spark-producing objects, like lighters, out of the reach of children. Also, refrain from smoking when tired or under the influence of alcohol or medications that make you drowsy.
Electrical Safety Tips: Avoid connecting extension cords and power strips to create power sources where a wall outlet does not exist and don’t overload those cords and strips if using them for temporary purposes. Plug all appliances directly into wall outlets to prevent overheating of wires. And if your home is experiencing electrical issues, have a licensed electrician evaluate the situation and make any needed repairs.
SFM said in many cases, homes didn’t have working smoke alarms or sprinkler systems. Louisiana residents can use SFM’s Operation Save-A-Life, a program partnering with local fire departments, to install smoke alarms for free.
For more information about Operation Save-A-Life, or to register for a smoke alarm installation, visit lasfm.org.